EDITORIAL: To Return or Not to Return

By Amaya Morales

Managing Editor

This time last year, we were walking on campus to classrooms, the dining halls or using open spaces in the library or at the fitness center.

Though national news had kept Americans informed of the early days of coronavirus, we weren’t too worried. Everything was fine. Or, so we believed.

On Feb. 11, 2020, The Equinox published this explainer about the coronavirus. 

It wasn’t until the pandemic was given its official name in the United States that panic started to settle in. Students and faculty of the FDU community were on their way to enjoy their weeklong break in mid-March, but we had no idea it would be the last time everyone could set foot on back campus for almost a year. 

The anticipated day of return to campus, though, has finally arrived when on Monday, Feb. 15, students and faculty were able to return to in-person and/or hybrid courses.

Just before noon on Monday, President Christopher Capuano sent an email to the FDU community about the return to campus. 

There are strict guidelines in place for everyone who comes to campus and those guidelines are to be strictly enforced.

FDU has implemented stringent contact-tracing policies and has required entrance testing for all residents and athletes. In addition, the school is updating the community on a weekly basis via email with the latest COVID-19 numbers.

“Even with our best efforts, circumstances can change and a pivot back to fully remote learning may be necessary,” said Capuano in his email.

Though the president is hopeful, students must remain cautious and continue to follow strict guidelines from state health officials and Gov. Phil Murphy. 

More schools within the state are opting to return to in-person or hybrid classes. This trend further supports the “work towards making more educators eligible for vaccinations beyond those who currently are because of either age or health background,” Gov. Murphy said, according to nj.com.

Meantime, COVID-19 cases continue to rise on a daily basis even though there was a recent decline in December. At this point, New Jersey has more than 758,000 positive cases, and 73,819 of them are in Bergen County alone. 

Despite all the guidelines in place, there is no reason to be on campus unless a class is being held in person or you have a job on campus. Most of the buildings that are open at this time are running on strict regulations for everyone’s safety.

Remember, if you do not feel comfortable being on campus, speak to your professor. Reach out to them and let them know you’re not comfortable to campus. You are not required to have a medical excuse or reasoning to remain virtual. 

“Any student that wishes to remain studying virtually may do so,” said President Capuano in a recent Zoom interview with The Equinox. “[Students] do not have to provide any medical excuse or anything like that if [they’re] not comfortable coming back to class.”

At the moment, not many classes are operating in-person and remain virtual, similar to the Fall 2020 semester. Nonetheless, President Capuano remains optimistic that we can all return to campus back to “normal.” 

A new normal, we say.

If it were up to us, though, we should not return until at least the beginning of the fall semester if we cannot hold off until 2022. 

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Photo from Equinox staff